1017 W. First Ave.
Across the street from KHQ headquarters is a secret gem of a coffee joint. Its small First Avenue space is easy to overlook while skimming the various businesses along this growing section of downtown, but the aroma of its locally roasted Anvil coffee, the sweet sounds of various singers and songwriters like Dirk Lind and Trickster Fox, and the events held in its beautiful ballroom draw in passerby.
Luxe is what you'd want from a café. Brick is exposed on one of its walls. The chairs are antique. Candles light up the room during the evening. It's a setting in a movie, almost too perfect to be real. Regulars will tell you that the latte crafted at Luxe, served in giant bowl-sized cups, is one of the best in town. Wine, microbrews and pastries from Petit Chat Village Bakery also are available.
"We are blessed that the universe has brought us some great musicians and that we can have something like Luxe here in Spokane," says co-owner Isaiah Crandall.
404 W. Main Ave.
Jeremy Hansen stands near a table in Santé's dining area. Behind him, sheets of opaque plastic and green velvet curtain panels cordon off a remodeling area. August is typically downtime in the Spokane restaurant business, explains Santé's owner and chef.
But by August 15, which is also Santé's fifth anniversary, a bar that is destined to serve local craft liquors and cocktails is planned to fill the now-empty space behind the velvet curtains. The opposite side of the restaurant, where the cold cases and register stand, is also undergoing a transformation. Customers will order sandwiches at a deli counter or call ahead for pick-up. Full table service will still be available, but a quick, quality lunch — meats smoked and cured on site, layered between slices of freshly baked bread — will now be served to those on short lunch breaks.
So there's that. And then there's this: Hansen and the majority of the Santé kitchen crew will be in New York City, preparing a special menu of Inland Northwest cuisine for the James Beard House, several days prior to the reveal.
The James Beard House is an invite-only "performance space" for chefs who embody the James Beard Foundation's goals of educating, inspiring, entertaining and fostering a greater understanding of culinary culture. It's a big deal.